So far in this blog I have talked a lot about the Ligurian coast, seaside promenades, salty breezes and starry skies… but those who read me may not know that I am proudly from Genola and that it was in the Langhe that I opened the doors of the first Vayadù houses.
As autumn arrives, I return to my still and silent hills, to enjoy the most beautiful colours of the year. Today I take you with me on a short, slow-paced journey through my favourite Langhe. Here you will not find long lists of hit-and-run destinations, but only the essence of my favourite places.
A vehicle, a walk, a work of art, a winery, a restaurant… and of course a Vayadù house. The best taste of these hills, which are at their best when they reveal themselves gradually, like the best wine.
Cycling on the Barolo route, among vineyards and giant benches
How can our slow tour begin if not by bicycle? It is my favourite means of transport here, even when the air is tingling my face, because it gives me the right rhythm to enjoy every nuance that nature has to offer, to totally immerse myself in the embrace of these panoramas, to fill myself with beauty and silence.
That’s why when I reach my hills in Cherasco, after a hearty breakfast on the panoramic terrace of the Swing house, I dress comfortably and mount my bike.
If you also love to look at the world from the saddle of a bike but you cannot take it with you, don’t worry: in these hills there are many places to hire a traditional or e-bike! One example among all – in Roreto di Cherasco, near Vayadù houses – is the historic Garesio sport, reliable and well-stocked, where you can find the most suitable solution for your route and your physical condition.
But let us return to Barolo route, a trail through the vineyards, wineries, castles and villages of Langhe in Piedmont, which has become an association that promotes these enchanting territories for more than 15 years.
The first path I follow is always the one that goes from Cherasco through La Morra to climb up to the giant red bench, one of the famous art installations that colour these hills.
After an hour or so of cycling, I like to stop right here, at the “serenity bench”, and climb to the top to gaze out over peaceful expanses of vineyards. I love this art project started by Chris Bangle more than ten years ago and which now has about 60 installations. I like it not only because it sets off the panoramic viewpoints of my hills, but also because it makes you change perspective and go back to childhood, with your feet dangling and your eyes full of wonder.
A scenic picnic at my favourite winery
Visiting Langhe is often synonymous with cellar experiences, to pay homage to the fruits that these extraordinary lands provide. After a stop at the happiness bench, I get back into the saddle and – in less than half an hour – I am at Cannubi vineyard, in my heart’s winery: Serio and Battista Borgogno, where Federica and Emanuela welcome me with a smile.
Beyond the name of the founders, today it is an almost all-female company: Emanuela takes care of the cellar and the vineyard, from pruning to harvesting, from pressing to bottling; while Federica brings their elegant Barolo to the world, dedicating herself to hospitality, communication and sales
Among their proposals, the one I prefer is the “Langhetta picnic”: I love to sit in their panoramic garden with a glass between my fingers and enjoy a simple but elegant lunch based on products from my land.
It often happens that the girls sit next to me to chat, while our glances run together among the hills and our thoughts meet in an astonished smile that seems to say: “do we really live here?!”.
To those who instead wish to take a journey through time, tracing the evolution of their Barolo over the years, I recommend their Cannubi Tasting Experience: a vertical tasting of 7 Baroli Cannubi, 5 of which Riserva, wines that patiently age in Slavonian oak barrels to become memorable experiences.
Thanks to this tasting, I discovered how the climate of our hills – from year to year – influences the nectar of the same vineyard in different ways. And the art of the winemaker is just that: “giving expression to what nature gives”, an ancient but very dynamic art, in eternal evolution.
Truffle hunting in the wood: my favourite walk
After the winery experience, there is only one reason why I decide to park my bike for a while and continue on foot: a walk in the woods together with a trifulau – that’s how we call a truffle hunter here in Piedmont – and his trusty dogs, in search of other precious treasures in these hills.
This, too, is one of the experiences offered by the Borgogno Serio Battista winery, in an enchanting wood close to their vineyard.
Truffle hunting in the woods is one of my favourite experiences when I return to my Langhe, because it stimulates my ability to observe, to trust intuition and small signals, and the silent understanding with the people and animals that come with me.
Borgo Sant’Anna: eating truffles (but not only)
If I’m still a little peckish, I ride to my favourite restaurant.
Borgo Sant’Anna is not only a restaurant with a simple and light elegance, but a real little hamlet where you can breathe a strong bond with the treasures of the earth and the slow time of its cycles.
I always choose it when I want to taste the Langhe in a dish: a recipe prepared by the skilful hands of Pasquale Laera, who knows how to put together simple and precious ingredients, the ancient knowledge of the people working these hills and his explosive curiosity, in a mix that becomes a living memory.
One more suspended pause on their panoramic viewpoint and then I speed towards the Swing house as the sight of the most beautiful colours of the year crosses my eyes.